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Start of Race 1. Photo N. Birnbaum, ©2013

“We still have to look at the boat and what we can do to improve it. There’s a long way to go in my mind.” — James Spithill, after today’s loss to Barker and Team New Zealand.

America’s Cup defender ORACLE TEAM USA grabbed headlines this morning when the day’s crew lists were released. The defender had changed tacticians, inserting four-time Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie in place of past America’s Cup champion John Kostecki.

Later in the day on the racecourse, it was Emirates Team New Zealand that stole Races 6 and 7 from the defender and now stands two-thirds of the way to winning the oldest trophy in international sport.

Emirates Team New Zealand leads the series 6-0 after winning Race 6 by 47 seconds and Race 7 by1:06. The winner of the 34th America’s Cup will be the first team to win 9 points. For the Kiwis that means three additional race wins and for ORACLE TEAM USA it means 10, due to a penalty imposed by the International Jury.

“We’re very satisfied with the day; it’s nice to get two more points, but there’s still a long way to go,” said Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker. “It’s only two-thirds of the way to actually winning the Cup. You have to win 9 points. Three more races is a lot of hard work, and we know that it’s far from over. One bad day out there and momentum changes and things can be quite different. We’re under no illusion, there’s still a very hard road ahead.”

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Ellison making his presence known. Pre-start, race 1. Photo: NBirnbaum,©2013

In Race 6 Barker said he was asleep all through the pre-start of the race, which put the team on the back foot. But in a similar scenario to Race 5, the team fought from behind on the upwind leg and passed the defender to gain the lead and then extend.

The win in Race 7 was a wire-to-wire performance. The Kiwis started to windward of ORACLE TEAM USA and crossed onto the racecourse riding on their hydrofoils and doing approximately 38 knots. They rounded the first turning mark in the lead and were never threatened the rest of the race.

Emirates Team New Zealand was untouchable on the two upwind legs. In Race 6 the Kiwis gained 55 seconds on the 3-nautical-mile leg and 50 seconds in Race 7.

Upwind, downwind? It’s still a tacking war.

“We didn’t know about the designs before the match started,” said ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill. “Both teams spent a lot of time and energy focused on each other and where we stood. I think it’s a shock they have the edge upwind and potentially we have an edge downwind.”

That upwind speed edge rendered moot ORACLE TEAM USA’s decision to change its decision maker. Kostecki, who guided Spithill to victory in the 33rd America’s Cup in 2010, opened the match in the back of the boat, but after five races came under fire for some of his decisions.

Spithill decided yesterday to insert four-time Olympic gold medalist Ainslie in his place. Ainslie has been the team’s B boat helmsman and is widely considered a skipper, but the team felt change was needed for the sake of change.

“Sure we made a change in the back of the boat. Both John and Ben are fantastic sailors, two of the best sailors in the world. We’re very fortunate that we can rotate guys like that. But we’ll have to study the data and see what we can do to change up the boat.

“We still haven’t seen some conditions. Those guys have an edge upwind and tacking, but we still haven’t seen the light-air end of the spectrum and we haven’t seen the Code 0s,” Spithill said. “We still have to look at the boat and what we can do to improve it. There’s a long way to go in my mind.”

As it was my day to be out on the bay following the action from one of the Defender speed boats, I was hoping that Oracle Team USA would have at least one win. It’s my Birthday for goodness sakes! Just one win… that’s not too much to ask for, right?

Spithill and crew had a great start to race 1 but as we watched them heading for the finish, I saw Oracle jibe left toward the Marina Green, leaving New Zealand headed straight for the gates. Whaaa? I was dumbfounded. What were they thinking?

It was exciting to finally get out there and watch the racing “up close & personal” and I did get some great shots of both yachts as well as some of the cheering fans. And so the day wasn’t a complete loss.

…just for Oracle Team USA.

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Oracle Team USA takes a bow for adoring fans. Photo: NBirnbaum,©2013

Racing resumes on Saturday with Races 8 and 9, scheduled for 1:15 pm PT and 2:15 pm PT. In the U.S., the America’s Cup Finals will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network. Replays will be available on the America’s Cup YouTube channel.
Thanks to Americascup.com.

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Emirates Team New Zealand wins second consecutive Louis Vuitton Cup

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Emirates Team New Zealand © ACEA / PHOTO GILLES MARTIN-RAGET

Emirates Team New Zealand won the 30th anniversary Louis Vuitton Cup with a 3:20 victory over Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge in the eighth and deciding race. The Kiwis, who beat Luna Rossa in the previous Louis Vuitton Cup in 2007, won the series 7-1.

The victory makes Emirates Team New Zealand the official challenger to ORACLE TEAM USA for the 34th America’s Cup in the “September Showdown” beginning Sept. 7. It’s the fifth time in the past six America’s Cup Matches that the Kiwis will be a contestant in the match.

Emirates Team New Zealand led by 16 seconds at Mark 1, 1:31 at Mark 2, 2:58 at Mark 3, and 3:18at Mark 4.

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Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Luna Rosa Challenge © ACEA / PHOTO ABNER KINGMAN

“To race for the America’s Cup you have to win the Louis Vuitton Cup,” said Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker. “We’ve definitely come here to win the America’s Cup, so winning the Louis Vuitton Cup is all part of the preparation. The guys are extremely focused. We came short in Valencia in 2007 and we’ll give it our all now in the next few weeks to make sure we’re as ready as can be.”

Luna Rossa made the final of the Louis Vuitton Cup for the third time in the past four contests. The widely popular team won the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2000 and finished runner-up to the Kiwis in 2007. The team came into the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup as a late entrant, but has made great strides since the start of racing last month. In the end, they simply ran out of time.

“Again Team New Zealand did a great job. They managed the pre-start and the race well, good job to them. They are a really strong team and I’m looking forward to seeing them racing in the match,” said Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena. “We started this team late and the main goal for us was to do well in this Louis Vuitton Cup. We are proud of what we achieved. No one was putting us in the Louis Vuitton Cup Final one and a half years ago. I’m proud of all the work done by the team. I said to the guys just before the finish that today starts the new challenge for the next America’s Cup. We’re going to be stronger next time.”

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America’s Cup on top of the Golden Gate Bridge. © ACEA / PHOTO GILLES MARTIN-RAGET

Louis Vuitton Cup Final Standings

  • Emirates Team New Zealand – 7
  • Luna Rossa Challenge – 1

Race 8 Performance Data

  • Course: 5 Legs/10.26 nautical miles
  • Elapsed Time: ETNZ – 33:49, LR – 37:09
  • Delta: ETNZ +3:20
  • Total distance sailed: ETNZ – 11.9 NM , LR – 12.3 NM
  • Average Speed: ETNZ – 21.27 knots (24 mph), LR – 20.04 knots (23 mph)
  • Top Speed: ETNZ – 41.19 knots (47 mph), LR – 38.73 knots (44 mph)

America’s Cup Schedule (best-of-17 series)

  • Saturday, Sept. 7: Race 1 (1:10 pm PT), Race 2 (2:10 pm PT)
  • Sunday, Sept. 8: Race 3 (1:10 pm PT), Race 4 (2:10 pm PT)
  • Tuesday, Sept. 10: Race 5 (1:10 pm PT), Race 6 (2:10 pm PT)
  • Thursday, Sept. 12: Race 7 (1:10 pm PT), Race 8 (2:10 pm PT)
  • Saturday, Sept. 14: Race 9 (1:10 pm PT), Race 10* (2:10 pm PT)
    (* If necessary)

Courtesy of  AmericasCup..com.

 

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Emirates Team New Zealand conquers Luna Rossa Challenge

 

Now that there’s more than one boat racing, it’s time to get the cameras rolling and watch these behemoth Cats fly.

Whether or not you are of the camp that misses the days of the monohul, or – like me, wish that the powers that be had stuck with the 45s to include more teams, I think we can all agree that it’s a ton of fun to watch these cats fly.

After the official judgement was given (on the controversial ruling and safety issues) allowing all the teams to get on with the racing, the first actual race was finally run.

The decision made by the International Jury upheld protests by Emirates Team New Zealand and Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge that the Regatta Director alone could not change some of the regatta rules, even if he was acting in the best interests of all the sailors. In effect, it stated that the teams must adhere to the AC72 Class Rule as well as to the 37 safety rules established following the Artemis Racing capsize that resulted in the tragic death of Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson in May.

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San Francisco (USA,CA) – 34th America’s Cup – Jury Meeting, July 8 – The jury : Josje Hofland (NED), Graham McKenzie (NZL), David Tillett (AUS), Bryan Willis (GBR), John Doerr (GBR).
Photo: Giles Martin-Raget / ACEA

Let the Racing Commence!

Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge are familiar partners in the America’s Cup arena. The two teams contested the 2000 America’s Cup Match, were finalists in the 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup Final, and have shared a design package and many hours of training together in the lead up to the 2013 America’s Cup.

San Francisco (USA,CA) - 34th America's Cup - Louis Vuitton Cup - Round Robin - Race Day 4 - Luna Rossa vs ETNZ. Photo: Giles Martin-Raget/ACEA

San Francisco (USA,CA) – 34th America’s Cup – Louis Vuitton Cup –
Round Robin – Race Day 4 – Luna Rossa vs ETNZ.
Photo: Giles Martin-Raget/ACEA

Over the weekend, on Saturday – the familiar foes contested the first two-boat race of the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, and the reigning champions from New Zealand came out on top.

Skipper Dean Barker and the Emirates Team New Zealand crew made today’s race look effortless. With the wind blowing around 17 knots, Emirates Team New Zealand held up Luna Rossa in the pre-start and then sailed away to win by nearly five and a half minutes on the 15.47-nautical-mile course.

The Kiwis completed the course in 43 minutes, 52 seconds. They recorded a top speed of 42.33 knots (48 mph), compared to Luna Rossa’s 39.95 knots (46 mph).

Stay tuned for more AC34 action!

Video and news update courtesy of www.americascup.com.

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News Brief:

Wings on the water and wings in the sky will culminate a historic week of action on and above San Francisco Bay at the second event of the 2012-13 America’s Cup World Series, taking place October 2-7.

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© ACEA 2012/ Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget

It’s sure to be a blast for spectators and sailors alike when they see the Blue Angels aerobatic team perform above the Bay while the wingsail AC45 catamarans perform below on the water during the Annual Fleet Week.

In October, this unprecedented combination of thrills will be sure to attract thousands of onlookers who will line the waterfront and take to their boats on the waters of the Bay. With Fleet Week crowds in attendance, nearly 1-million spectators are expected over the final weekend when the race crews will share the Bay with the Pacific Fleet of the Navy.

The first America’s Cup event in San Francisco in August attracted over 150,000 fans to the Marina Green and nearly 500 spectator boats to witness 11 of the best sailing crews in the world battle just yards from the shoreline.

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Oracle Spithill & Couts race on SF Bay.
© 2012/ Photo: Nancy Birnbaum

“This is a perfect combination for fans and spectators in San Francisco,” said Stephen Barclay, the CEO of the 34th America’s Cup. “Fleet Week is well established as a must-see event in San Francisco attracting hundreds of thousands of people down to the waterfront, and following on from our first regatta during the summer, the America’s Cup is fast becoming a similar draw for fans interested in high-adrenalin action.”

In joining forces with Fleet Week, the America’s Cup Village will be located at Little Marina Green. Teams will be based at Piers 30-32, with the top crews from each day coming ashore at Little Marina Green and proceeding to the stage for interviews. Race commentary, as well as morning and dock-in shows, along with food and beverage concessions and activities will feature at the America’s Cup Village at Little Marina Green. Admission is free.

Beginning on Tuesday, October 2, the America’s Cup World Series teams will be racing on the Bay with open practice followed by Wednesday’s Match Race Qualifying. Championship Racing is from Thursday to Sunday (October 4-7), culminating with Super Sunday, broadcast live across America on NBC, when the America’s Cup World Series San Francisco champion will be crowned.

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© 2012/ Photo: Nancy Birnbaum

After Super Sunday racing on October 7 (with racing on the Bay scheduled to start at 1:55pm), the Blue Angels will be performing over San Francisco Bay, a highlight of the Fleet Week air shows.

“I’m pleased the America’s Cup World Series is joining Fleet Week this year and welcome the sailors from all over the world as they demonstrate their incredible sailing skills on the challenging San Francisco Bay. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate the spirit of competition as the United States attempts to win the America’s Cup again in 2013,” said San Francisco Fleet Week Chairman Major General Michael J. Myatt (USMC, ret.).

Championship Racing (Thursday through Sunday) is live internationally on YouTube (subject to territorial broadcast arrangements). Super Sunday – October 7 – will be shown live, coast to coast, across the United States on NBC from 1.30pm PDT. Full broadcast details and race format and schedule updates are on www.americascup.com.

In Other News:

America’s Cup defender Oracle Team USA returned to testing on San Francisco Bay on Monday after a daggerboard failure halted initial tests on August 31, 2012. A temporary set of daggerboards, which are used for directional and lateral stability on each of the twin hulls of the huge 72-foot-long catamaran, have been installed while a new set is being built.

All competitors in the 2013 America’s Cup trials and finals – to be held next summer in San Francisco – are allowed a total of 30 days of on-the-water testing before racing begins. While initial testing by the Oracle Teams will continue on S.F. Bay, there are rumors that the team may move to Hawaii for later test sessions.

“We had a great day out there today – we ticked through all of the sails in the morning, and in the afternoon we concentrated on the wing,” said Oracle helmsman Jimmy Spithill. “We have a list of things to work on now, but it was a very good day and fantastic to get the boat back out on the water.”

Grant Simmer, general manager of the Oracle team, said; “It was only our second day on the water, so we were focusing on loading the boat slowly to make sure there are no structural issues. We sailed with the Code Zero and the Gennaker for the first time, and we were checking all of the systems.”

“It went well,” Simmer said. “We went out a little bit jury rigged, but it was still a valuable day for us. As we’re limited to 30 days of sailing between now and February 1, we want to get as much out of each day on the water as we can.”

From: Examiner.com.

Amazing Video of Team New Zealand, courtesy of ONE Sport.

Over in New Zealand, big wings were flying – literally when Team New Zealand had it’s new AC72 out for practice.

Watch this amazing video showing the huge catamaran taking flight – both hulls off the water!

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http://tvnz.co.nz/sailing-news/team-new-zealand-take-flight-video-5067053

Comparing the AC45s with the AC72s

The AC72:

The AC72 is a 72-foot catamaran with a wingsail.  These are the boats which will be used in the 34th Defense of the America’s Cup in 2013, and in the challenger selection series of the Louis Vuitton Cup regatta.

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Yachts will be designed and built starting in 2011, launching July, 2012, for early testing, and begin racing in 2013.  Each team’s designers and builders create their own hulls, wings, soft sails, and underwater foils within the confines of the rules, and test and refine their designs as the racing moves forward.  Teams may build a second AC72 yacht as their resources allow.

The AC45 is a one-design 45-foot long catamaran with a wingsail.  Identical boats are being built for each team, who will train and race them in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 America’s Cup World Series seasons.  The AC45 is meant to give sailors and shore crews experience handling this sort of high-tech cat, and to permit multihull racing to begin this year.  Teams may modify the rigs and appendages for testing, though not the hulls.  During racing, however, the AC45’s must remain in their one-design configuration.

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Courtesy of CupInfo.com

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